\ˈslik \

Definition of slick 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having a smooth surface : slippery slick wet leaves

b : having surface plausibility or appeal : glossy slick advertising

c : based on stereotype : trite slick stories soon forgotten

2a : characterized by subtlety or nimble wit : clever especially : wily a slick swindler

b : deft, skillful a slick ballplayer

3 : extremely good : first-rate

4 archaic : sleek sense 1


slicked; slicking; slicks

Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to make sleek or smooth

intransitive verb

: spruce usually used with up



Definition of slick (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : something that is smooth or slippery especially : a smooth patch of water covered with a film of oil

b : a film of oil

2 : an automobile tire made without a tread for maximum traction (as in drag racing)

3 : an implement for producing a smooth or slick surface

4 : a shrewd untrustworthy person

5 : a popular magazine printed on coated stock and intended to appeal to sophisticated readers

6 slang : a military helicopter without armaments that is used to transport troops or light cargo



Definition of slick (Entry 4 of 4)

informal, dated

: in a smooth or clever manner "I must say they did it slick enough. They were old hands at the business."— Jack London

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Other Words from slick


slick adverb
slickly adverb
slickness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for slick


sleek, slick, glossy mean having a smooth bright surface or appearance. sleek suggests a smoothness or brightness resulting from attentive grooming or physical conditioning. a sleek racehorse slick suggests extreme smoothness that results in a slippery surface. slipped and fell on the slick floor glossy suggests a highly reflective surface. photographs having a glossy finish

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods. a sly corporate raider cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing. the cunning fox avoided the trap crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method. a crafty lefthander wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering. the wily fugitive escaped the posse tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering. a tricky political operative foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing. a foxy publicity man planting stories artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness. elicited the information by artful questioning slick emphasizes smoothness and guile. slick operators selling time-sharing

Examples of slick in a Sentence


Be careful as you drive home—the roads are slick. big corporations and their slick lawyers The new kid had some slick moves on the basketball court. The students did a slick job of promoting the concert. The video game has slick graphics.


The rain slicked the roads. slicking the bottom of their skis with wax
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Kopser raised more than $700,000, earned the endorsements of several prominent Democrats (including Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff) and papered the district with one slick mailer after another. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Kopser accused of making opponent’s sexuality an issue," 3 Apr. 2018 Among the slick mailers being sent out by these groups, McMullin hopes his group's handmade postcards stand out. Jason Stein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Postcards group looks to Magic Markers, not money, to win over wary voters," 15 Jan. 2018 Part of what killed the romantic comedy in the mid-’00s was that the biggest studio rom-coms, your How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or your Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, were getting increasingly slick and smarmy and cynical. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Why romantic comedies matter," 29 Aug. 2018 Elwes will join the cast as Mayor Kline, who is described as handsome, slick and sleazy. Fox News, "'Stranger Things' won't return for new season until 2019," 30 July 2018 All this comes together in the Miles app, which is slick and polished in a way most apps aren’t at launch. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Miles is an app that tracks your every move in exchange for deals and discounts," 24 July 2018 If Google is to launch a gaming platform, its presentational savvy—the ability the company has to make using your technology feel slick, interesting, and healthily interconnected—will have to be the backbone. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Can Google Really Launch a Viable Videogame Platform?," 7 July 2018 Senior attacker TJ Malone made sure of that after securing a slick pass from junior midfielder Peter Garno. Aaron Carter,, "TJ Malone nets OT winner as Haverford School seals Inter-Ac title," 11 May 2018 Madame Macron again looked to Vuitton for her slick spin on the classic smoking suit, reworked in white with a contrasting peak lapel. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "In Belgium, Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump Are Style Opposites—But With a Similar Message," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yes, the Buffalo native with the slicked-back hair just positioned himself as a front-runner for the next installment of the ABC reality show. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Is Jason Tartick the Next Bachelor?," 24 July 2018 The Tre looks completely different from the Nikola One and Two, which have a more slicked-back aerodynamic style. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Nikola teases a third-generation hydrogen semi truck for Europe and Asia," 5 Nov. 2018 With slicked-back grey hair and a frail frame, Salemme is almost unrecognizable from the bulky mob boss depicted in grainy surveillance photos from his heyday. Fox News, "Ex-Mafia boss 'Cadillac Frank' sentenced to life in prison," 13 Sep. 2018 The crisp, white look was further accented by her slicked back blonde hair and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Arrived to the VMAs in a Classic White Blazer Dress," 21 Aug. 2018 Jet-black, squid-ink spaghetti is slicked with a squid stock, a sweet scallop puree, and a rucola sauce that hits a balancing bitter note. Stan Parish, WSJ, "‘Go Beyond Sushi’: Tokyo’s Culinary Gems," 19 June 2018 As for her hair, Jenner’s locks were slicked back in a low updo. Stephanie Petit,, "Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid Light Up Cannes on Glamorous Girls' Night," 13 May 2018 In Sport Bowling, balls slick their ways down alleys thanks to the oil coating the lanes. Cassie Owens,, "Strike! The Philly teen who won a college scholarship for bowling," 2 June 2018 Hairstylist Holli Smith slicked some models’ hair into two mini top knots with a stark center part. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Space Buns Are Dead. Long Live Mickey Mouse Buns.," 8 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Government lawyers recently disclosed a new estimate that approximately 10,500 to 29,400 gallons (39,747 to 111,291 liters) of oil is leaking daily from the site where slicks often stretch for miles off Louisiana’s coast. Michael Kunzelman, The Seattle Times, "Company can be ordered to drill to end 14-year-old oil leak," 21 Nov. 2018 Beyond the paper, EVGA’s overhauled Precision X1 overclocking software is looking slick. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Every custom GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti you can preorder, and why you shouldn't," 21 Aug. 2018 Lingard of United scored a beautiful goal Sunday after a slick give-and-go with Sterling of City. Brian Straus,, "England's New Three Lions Appear to Be a Different Animal at This World Cup," 24 June 2018 Eric Marasheski, La Salle, infielder: The slick-fielding senior shortstop was voted the Catholic League’s defensive player of the year. Rick O'brien,, "Rick O'Brien's 2018 all-Southeastern Pennsylvania baseball team," 16 June 2018 The slick-fielding third baseman crushed a three-run homer to left center that push the lead to 4-0. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Five-run first inning sets tone for Burlington's victory over Chippewa Falls in state softball quarterfinals," 7 June 2018 Grenier, whose stock as a slick-fielding shortstop continues to soar, is pegged for a late-first to mid-second round selection. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Nick Madrigal, Oregon State's other top MLB draft prospects keeping focus on Beavers' postseason," 3 June 2018 Racing tires, city slicks, off-road, folding bikes. Michael Calore, WIRED, "14 Essentials to Improve Your Bike Commute in the City," 17 May 2018 With Moffitt as editor and Whittle as publisher, Esquire was reborn—a slick, knowing guidebook, plump with ads, for young climbers in the Bright Lights, Big City era. Sam Tanenhaus, Town & Country, "Can Chris Whittle Launch a Truly Global School?," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of slick


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for slick


Middle English slyke; akin to Old English *slician


Middle English sliken, from Old English *slician; akin to Old High German slīhhan to glide

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Learn More about slick

Statistics for slick

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slick

The first known use of slick was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for slick



English Language Learners Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to make (something) smooth and slippery



English Language Learners Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 3)

: very smooth and slippery

: clever in usually a dishonest or deceptive way

: skillful and clever



English Language Learners Definition of slick (Entry 3 of 3)

: a thin layer of liquid that makes a surface very slippery

: a smooth tire that is used in car racing


\ˈslik \
slicked; slicking

Kids Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make sleek or smooth He slicked his hair.



Kids Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having a smooth surface : slippery slick pavement

2 : tricky sense 2 a slick salesman

3 : having skill and cleverness She made some slick moves during the game.

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More from Merriam-Webster on slick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slick

Spanish Central: Translation of slick

Nglish: Translation of slick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slick for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about slick

Comments on slick

What made you want to look up slick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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